Our Tofino Neighbours: Angela L'Heureux of Tofino Soap Company
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Before moving to Tofino, Angela L’Heureux had never even been to Vancouver Island. This Stratford, Ontario-native describes her childhood as playing a bit of nomadic “hot potato,” jumping around between homes in Alberta, Ontario and Florida, but never dropping onto this part of the world.
In her former life (pre-Island), Angela trained as an esthetician and massage therapist, then worked as a paramedic for seven years before calling quits on stress-filled work and seeking out a lifestyle change. Her change came with an opportunity to go back to her roots in healthy bodywork as a spa practitioner at our Ancient Cedars Spa. She sold her house and moved west.
While the orderliness to her position at the Wick suited Angela’s desire for structure, working in the spa environment was a perfect change to ease from emergency-based responsibilities and find a work-life balance. However, her entrepreneurial spirit was still burning brightly, and in 2010 she started making soap—“not as a business”—to sell at the local market, something she still does in the summer season.
With a love for botanicals and ethnobotany, Angela based her homemade soaps and salves around ingredients she could find on the coast and in the wild. Being resourceful and making things with what they could fine outside, Angela notes, was something she remembered doing while she was growing up, and that the original salve recipe was something of a family inheritance from her grandfather via her uncle (though she tweaked the smell).
By 2012, the demand showed what Angela had created—Tofino Soap Company—was undeniably a small business, and growing! But she continued to make her products in a “traditional” way: locally-harvesting many of the ingredients, using solar infusions for the oils and other methods that would keep the natural goodness in the products, and blending every batch by hand in her kitchen.
Soon she added a line of candles to her offerings and then a collaboration opportunity came to tie her two jobs together: making a signature collection for our Ancient Cedars Spa. Angela worked with the spa team to refine a simple, grounding scent of local cedar and balsam, one guests could take away as a keepsake of their time here.
With the introduction of sprays, shampoos, soaks, scrubs, lotions and more, Angela says she has definitely surpassed her business goals, however, when pressed, says she is looking to build on her waste-free and organic options.
While she definitely keeps herself busy, Angela fills her free time with more outdoors exploring. From gardening and birding to journeying farther afield for foraging, paddling out on her SUP or boating through the Broken Group (though she says she could always do more of this!), she is making the most of her life on the coast.
Since landing here, Angela has been a supportive and dedicated addition to our community. We’re delighted to carry her products at the Wickaninnish Inn and offer our guests a handcrafted treasure, something truly and uniquely made for them.